[Review] Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong


Holiday Inn Express Katong is probably the most affordable HIEx franchise in Singapore. It's near Changi airport and is located at a quiet neighborhood. The hotel is clean, modern, and everything is well maintained. Here's a quick tour of the hotel, our room, its amenities, and everything else!
The Lobby
The lobby is located at the 7th floor so you have to take the lift from the ground level of Katong Square. 


Alighting from the elevator, you'll be greeted by the reception counter. Check-in was a breeze. Everything I requested from my Agoda booking was granted (high floor, orange room, early check-in) and it didn't take 10 minutes for me to get a room. 


I was even able to request for a Handy mobile which made me love the hotel even more! According to the staff, only certain queen rooms have Handy mobile included. As long as you're checked in you can bring this around with you outside, it has unlimited 4G data and free international call to certain countries.


If you need to surf the internet, there's a small nook at the side of the reception counter with two computer machines. There's also some travel guides and a Forex machine too.

Queen Standard Room

Our room is located on the 15th floor. From the lobby at 7th floor, you have to take another lift to go the rooms. It's not too bad having to transfer lifts, I'm not sure why some reviewers complain about it. Being an express hotel, everything is kinda self-service. Even the extra things you want to request for your room, you have to pick up at the reception. So don't expect luggage assistance when you get here. :)


The room we got is a decent sized one. At 19sqm I was kinda hesitant about the space but when we got in, it actually looks spacious. Thanks to the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the peaceful Katong district and the overall smart space design.




The bed is super comfy and the pillows are marked soft and firm haha. I don't know but it seemed more like soft and super soft. I was expecting the firm pillows are as firm as the throw pillows haha.



The bathroom is simple and has some very practical features. I like the use of liquid soap dispensers for handwash, shampoo/bodywash. I also think it's smart that the shower door and bathroom door act as one. When you open the shower door, it will close the bathroom. So when you're taking a shower, the bathroom is open. Basta ganon hahahaha. It saves a lot of space. 


The closet area isn't that big, but it's enough to store our luggage and put out our clothes. There's a safe, iron, and ironing board as well.


For tourists like us, I appreciate the presence of universal sockets, USB ports, and Handy Mobile. There's also a bluetooth speaker/alarm/radio you can use. And for your entertainment, the room is equipped with a Samsung Smart TV which has Radio, Youtube, and Miracast. Let me warn you though that the Youtube feature is pretty useless because there are fixed categories and there's no option to search for a video.


If you want to watch Netflix, I suggest you bring your own laptop and HDMI cable. That's what we did! There's free and fast wifi anyway. :)


There's complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea. Faucet water is potable too (by WHO standard guys) so no need to worry about it!

Express Start Breakfast


Every day from 6:30 to 10:30am, breakfast is served at the 7th floor. There's a modest selection of bread, muffins, ham, sausage, salad, fruits, and cereals, and there's also coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and a variety of fruit juices. Apart from the intercontinental breakfast spread, there are also some local Asian dishes like congee, dry noodles, dal, and so on. It's not much but it's enough to fill you up!




The only thing important to me is coffee. And they have 3 coffee machines spread out across the hall. Love it. There are a lot of seating areas and also an outdoor space for guests who smoke. 



When you're done with your food, you can place this card to inform the cleaners that your table is ready to get tidied up. And when you're not yet finished, you can flip it over! Isn't that neat?


If you're on the go, you can grab some coffee and pick up some muffins near the reception counter instead. They provide take-away cups and paper bags for that purpose. I think this is a really thoughtful touch targeting their business class guests.

Housekeeping

I have no qualms about their housekeeping. They would visit us everyday around 1pm to take out the trash, restock our bottled water, coffee and tea, refill the shampoo and hand wash dispensers, vacuum the carpet, and replace our towels. And get this, when they're done cleaning the room, they would dial something on our phone that would indicate that our room has been visited by housekeeping already. Ang high tech! This third world bitch is shookt.

24-hour gym

Outside the breakfast hall is a small gym you can use if you find the need for a quick workout. Jeckie and I was able to try it one night and found it pretty cool. It's small but it's enough. 


There are two treadmills, an elliptical cross-trainer, and a stationary bike inside. On the open area outside is a rower, a bench, a rack of dumbbells, and two exercise balls. Also provided are face towels, drinking water, and wet wipes for you to clean the equipment after sweating on it. I love how obsessed this city is with cleanliness, urgh. 

Note that there's no swimming pool here!

24-hour self-service laundry

I just love how Holiday Inn Express enables you to be productive everyday lol. Yes , you can do your laundry here. There's also an area where you can fold and iron your clothes. Just be ready to shell out $7 per load. So that's $14 for a wash and dry combo. 

Transportation

When we planned for this trip I didn't care about where the hotel is located because I know getting around Singapore is easy. And indeed! We didn't have any problems getting around. Thanks to the Handy mobile, we have data everywhere we go so it's easy to navigate around.

The nearest bus stop is Roxy Sq. and it's around 30-40 minutes away from the CBD.

Overall

I'm impressed at how incredibly feature-packed this hotel is. It's not a place for guests wanting to be pampered with 5-star service, but they provide everything you need with a high standard to enable you to mind your own business comfortably. I love it. It's the first time I've experienced such concept and it's pretty neat. 5 nights well spent!
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I'm not ready

What a beautiful dawn

I feel like I'm chasing at the wrong thing right now. So remember how I was stressing about studying for the exam and the technical assessment, I think most of it was because I didn't want to waste the almost 50k we spent on flights and accommodation. 
But after reading the entire foundation level syllabus, I realized that there's still soooo little I know in the testing industry, and that everything I've learned so far, I'm excited to apply at work. Not elsewhere, but here, where I am. Heck I'm actually concerned about my job, that's new.

I'm at a great place and I'm doing good. I can see the value in my work, and I feel valued too. I have never felt this way in my entire career. I feel like I've found THE company I want to grow old with. Nevermind that corporations are really just being fake concerned about its people, what's important is that there's synergy between us, and that I'm getting paid right.

So anyway. I guess this is just me saying I'll do the best I can to go as far as possible in the recruitment process. Not really my goal to move out, but we'll see where God takes me in this journey! :)
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Today

Is another day I'm late for work. Aaarghh.

Which is why I finally bought a weekly planner, so that I can log my daily goals like no lates, no rice, drink water, exercise daily, etc. It's just something to push me to become more accountable. I'm never a planner person but we'll see if this method works hahaha.

Also, I'm so out of hope with the frkn exam. I read something in the forums that immensely validated the impending doom I'm about to plummet into. I have to frkn code. On paper. Oh this is Nokia all over again, which I failed twice. And I accept that, 'cos I know I'm not that smart. But wth if the type of analysts they want to get are R&D level testers, I'm sooooo out of the game.

And that kinda made me feel better. At least I don't have to try too hard. I mean I'm so sure I'm no good when there's coding involved argh.

Looking forward to tomorrow's Holiday. I already informed my client that I won't be taking any writing tasks for the next two weeks so I'm pretty free right now! :D
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This week

Finally booked a hotel accommodation for our Singapore trip
We're staying at Holiday Inn Express Katong, East Coast area, and I'm very excited about it. I've spent days comparing hotel rates, room sizes, and neighborhoods and I figured this one has the best value for money considering how arte I am about certain thinks like room size, interior design, presence of windows, hotel ambiance, and so on.

Purchased a car insurance policy
Little by little we're trying to take over managing the car since it's been in our possession for almost a year now. Two weeks ago we took care of maintenance, now we're shouldering insurance. Our current policy with Sterling is expiring this month, and we're switching to FPG via iChoose.ph.

I thought it was gonna be hard to get this insurance thing set up but would you believe, I got an insurance policy in a matter of hours just by chatting with an agent online. I can't believe how fast and easy it was. I sent over the OR and CR via chat, and transferred a partial payment via online banking. Man, I love technology.

Now I'm just waiting for the policy to arrive at our doorstep, and they're also forwarding a copy to our loaning bank. I know it sounds all too scammy but I got the reco from a car group so I guess we're in good hands?

Received more info about the recruitment roadshow
Urgh. More things to stress about. I received more details about the roadshow. After the exam on Monday, I'm already lined up for a face to face interview and hands-on technical assessment on Thursday. I stopped being excited about this whole recruitment thing when I realized I'm not even halfway reading the foundation level syllabus which would be helpful for the exam. I was ready to fail and already conditioned myself to go on vacation mode. But then the interview schedule was a glimmer of hope. Does it mean it doesn't matter if I fail the exam? I'm still gonna get a shot during the interviews? But then there's a technical test, a 90-minute hands-on assessment of my coding and scripting kills like wtf. I'm not ready for this! I haven't scripted from scratch in a long while my goodness. This kindof kills the vacation mood you know.

I need to reduce my activities
I've been meaning to tell my writing client (I still don't know how to call it lol) to stop giving me tasks for now because I have to review for an exam. But for some reason, nanghihinayang ako hahaha. I mean, I typically can squeeze an hour or so to write one article. So I'm thinking if I spend that hour reviewing instead, I could be closer to finishing the damn syllabus by now. But who am I kidding, I'm not getting paid to review lol.

I did decline two design opportunites (from my old) client because I know it's going to be overwhelming for me at this point. My goodness, I need to breathe. This whole anticipiation is killing my nervous system.

To fast or not to fast
Our APE results just came out and guess what! I have hypercholesterolemia, something our resident doctor refuse to believe because she thinks our APE vendor isn't reliable on account of almost half the population being diagnosed with the same. I was advised to get re-checked to confirm the state of my blood chem. It's optional but if I do that it means I have to fast for 10-12 hours and damn I don't think I'm ready for that.

I'm also overweight, of course.

Anyway
Off to make a wedding invite while my automated script is running!
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